National transition plan needed to avoid ‘dirty, expensive, unreliable’ electricity

Smoke pours from industrial chimneys into sky (audit)

The next generation of electricity will be very dirty, very expensive or very unreliable unless a national transition plan is put into place, according to a new report from Engineers Australia.

The Future of Australian Electricity Generation report says time is running out, with a rapidly looming end date for establishing a secure and cheap supply of electricity.

Engineers Australia’s electricity spokesman Mark Lendich said Australia had one of the oldest and least efficient power generation fleets in the OECD.

“Around 70 per cent of our thermal generation needs to be replaced in the next decade,” Mr Lendich said.

“We need a properly engineered system to take over.

“This will not be cheap or straightforward but it is an unavoidable reality.”

Mark Lendich said people’s livelihoods were at stake.

“Workers at power stations that are closing will need to be retrained and new skills developed to allow a shift to lower emissions options and the new jobs that will be created because of this,” he said.

The report acknowledged that modernising the grid would take up to 20 years, and the evolving technology mix and wind, solar and improvements to energy efficiency would all play a significant role.

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